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Ron’s Story – How to Motivate a Child Who Is Weak in Math

rmssRon joined RMSS when he was in Primary 2. At that time, he lacked confidence in Math and struggled with understanding some concepts.

Today, he is a very different child. Read on to find out what made the difference in his attitude towards math and studies in general.

 (Be sure to read the bonus tips for motivating your child at the end of this article!)


Ron, in the beginning

Mum: He was a bit uncertain about joining RMSS initially as the teacher was rather strict but as time went by, he grew comfortable with his teacher and became very motivated.

Teacher Eugene: When Ron first joined RMSS, he was on the quieter side, a student who wasn’t confident in Math. He was decently well read in his individual topics but somehow had difficulties in putting them together when it came to tackling an exam paper.

Ron, today (Primary 4)

Mum: He has developed a passion for Math and is willing to put in the extra effort. He is also more consistent with his results now, and is currently in the top 15% of his cohort. 

Teacher Eugene: He has more confidence in himself now and is able to translate his knowledge into real exam skills so that he can do better in school.


What made the difference?

Mum: Discipline and hard work, I believe. RMSS teachers made sure that the kids hand in their homework on time and get ready for lessons. They are generally very strict and dedicated in their work. They also have certain expectations from the kids that are willing to help them as much as possible. I think my child is very lucky to meet a tutor who could converse well with him and able to motivate him to do well.

Teacher Eugene: I think the bonding helped. As we spent more time in class, we got to know each other better. Ron has a very positive attitude towards learning. As he began to realise his potential, he started to like Math more and more and even told his mother that he enjoyed my classes very much.

Do you have a child who is struggling with Math? Here are 4 tips from teacher Eugene to motivate your child

1. Categorise and label key Math concepts and questions

Think of this as your child’s mental filing cabinet for Math. Help him to create a set of distinctive names to label question types, sentence types and methods.

When your child comes across a question that he is unsure of, prompt him to think about the category or label this question falls under. For example, this requires the set method or the internal transfer method.

Doing this repeatedly creates a habit of checking and inquiry before they actually jump into the question. This helps kids understand what exactly they are facing and gets them to recall how they tackled similar problems previously.

2. Structure their study materials

Study materials are important especially for weaker students. At RMSS, it is always key to structure and build up a Math chapter carefully – it forms the foundation of a strong learner.

A good study book not only makes learning smooth, it also enables weaker students to perform as well as the better ones.

3. Gamify it and make learning fun

One technique you can try is to gamify the part of learning that requires memory. Much of the primary and secondary syllabus in Singapore can be easily conquered with memorization, so memorisation can be a bane of a student’s life if it’s not done properly.

I usually give simple rewards of bubble tea vouchers, chocolates or sweets to get them hyped up to do well in memorisation.

4. Don’t punish

Don’t resort to punishment or harsh methods even when a student is being lazy or not dong their best. It only discourages them even more. Wherever possible, bring the problem up to them, try to find out why and understand what are the obstacles that they are facing. Then hold their hand through it and reward them when they succeed.

If your child still struggles with understanding Math concepts, or needs help to boost his confidence in Math, get in touch with Raymond’s Math & Science Studio for a consultation now.

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